Carlsen Vs. Giri: The Trash Talk Edition – Chess.com

Posted: June 15, 2020 at 6:45 pm


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In one of my recent articles, I called Magnus Carlsen a "born entertainer" and asked, "Who could forget the barbs he exchanges with GM Anish Giri on Twitter?" Our world champion never fails us. The very day after my article was published, we could witness the following conversation on Twitter:

I hope that a book will be published one day where all the Twitter exchanges between these two great players will be collected together. Besides the obvious entertainment value, such a book could teach people something about chess. Let's see for example what Carlsen and Giri are talking about in this particular tweet. Here is the game that started this rumble:

For most people, this game will be remembered for the grotesque blunder at the very end. This is what Giri is referring to when saying, "no more horse blunders in the knockout." But to understand the true meaning of "those types of positions" or "Julio Granda style," you need to know a bit of chess history.

For starters, let's go 74 years back. The world was just recovering after the horrendous war and the match Moscow vs. Prague was one of the first international chess events. As you can easily guess, there was not much intrigue in that match since the team of Moscow grandmasters could probably win the olympiad, let alone beat a team of just one city. So the match would have been remembered only by chess historians if not for two games won by David Bronstein. This is where the King's Indian Defense was officially born. This dynamic opening had many names in the first years of its development: "an irregular opening," "the Indian Defense," "the Ukrainian variation," etc... The two games of GM Bronstein turned what considered a semi-correct opening into a formidable weapon! Let's look at the key points of this new opening strategy.

Here is the second Bronstein game from the same match:

If you compare the game Carlsen vs. Dubov with Bronstein's masterpieces, you can see many similarities: the same "hopeless d6-pawn" according to Alekhine turned out to be not so hopeless, the h-pawn push which made the position of White King vulnerable, the powerful Bg7, etc. Now you can see the type of positions Carlsen and Giri discussed in their Twitter exchange.

The last mystery we need to solve is the "Julio Granda style" reference. I played the talented Peruvian grandmaster only once, but I always respected his unique talent. While he was never a true professional chess player (He even retired from chess for a couple of years to take care of his farm.), he could beat almost any player on a good day. He always had his special vision of chess and produced many outstanding games. What did Carlsen mean by saying "Julio Granda style." Fortunately, the power of modern databases helps us to easily solve this mystery by providing the following game:

Yes, it turns out that GM Granda beat Anish Giri in exactly the same kind of position in which Carlsen lost to Dubov. The whole episode gives us another opportunity to admire Carlsen's chess knowledge. Remember Magnus Carlsen's biggest secret? Does he really remember all the games played by grandmasters, or does he just pay extra attention to the games played by his frenemy Giri? Also, it is a fine example of chess karma when GM Giri's joke returned back to him as a boomerang.

I cannot wait for the next round in the Carlsen vs. Giri Twitter match!

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Carlsen Vs. Giri: The Trash Talk Edition - Chess.com

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June 15th, 2020 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Chess